August 15, 2016

WAM Collection Feature: Julia Jacquette


1999, Julia Jacquette
Collection of the Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota

The collection of the Weisman Art Museum is vast and extensive, containing far more works than the museum can display, which is why we have decided to share an artist a month to feature the hidden gems in WAMs collection.

When picking a focus for the collection feature this month, I wanted to pick a female artist because men make some really good art, but sometimes I just get sick of hearing about it. When looking through the WAM permanent collection, Julia Jacquettes’s piece caught my eye because of it’s odd nature. The work was screen printed on a napkin. I just love that it was done on a napkin, being such a non-traditional material and it differs quite significantly from her other works. I decided to use this opportunity to look more into her work and it’s role in our collection.

Jacquette’s art typically takes the form of paintings. She works in oil paint on large flat surfaces, examining the imagery surrounding gender roles, relationships, sexuality and domesticity. If this is starting to sound familiar to you, it’s probably because you saw one of her paintings that was recently displayed at WAM in The Human Touch, our feature exhibition last fall.

Left: Heidi Klum (Throws Glitter), 2012, Julia Jacquette, Top Right: Nicole Kidman (Pink Chiffon), 2013,
Julia Jacquette, Bottom Right: Forehead (Nicole Kidman), 2014, Julia Jacquette
Images sourced from artist’s website

Before looking into the work featured in Human Touch. I wanted to get familiar with Julia Jacquette’s body of work. The above images are a selection of some of my favorites. To me, the works feel so intimate and personal. I feel as though the soft pinks and the painting’s subjects seem to romanticize femininity. The first image I chose is from Water, Liquor, Hair which was done in 2008, but premiered as an exhibition in Amsterdam in 2009. The last two images were chosen from a series done in 2014 called In Proximity and features Nicole Kidman’s forehead and pink chiffon. The rest of the works shown in In Proximity were equally as glamorous.

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 11.53.58 AM

Radiant, 1999, Julia Jacquette
Collection of RBC Wealth Management

the painting featured in WAM’s The Human Touch, seems to take a different perspective on femininity. The presence of the feminine remains, as well as the element of glamour. However, the time period feels different. Jacquette painted Radiant in 1999, but the style of the women’s hands seem much more retro, as if they were appropriated from advertisements or cinema from the 1950’s or 60’s.

Photograph from MoMa Projects Series

Different still is Untitled, 1999, the napkin in the Weisman Art Museum’s permanent collection. The work has never been displayed and I imagine if it was it would stir up some confusion from patrons to the museum. How could a napkin belong under a vitrine in an art museum? Perhaps when viewers hear that thousands of the napkins were produced, significantly reducing their rarity and resulting value. This confusion and the resulting conversations, however, are exactly what Jacquette sought in the works creation. Untitled was created for Projects 69: Julia Jacquette, an exhibition at MoMa that was curated as part of the Elaine Dannheisser Project Series.  When Jacquette participated, from 1999 to 2001, she used the series as a platform to explore the relationship between food, eating, sexuality and gender identity. For the project she designed a series of paper food products, including plates, cups, and napkins, each printed with original imagery and text. The designs juxtaposed illustrations of decadent desserts and meats with erotic phrases and double entendres. The plates, cups and napkins were then used to serve guests in MoMA’s cafe, creating a direct interaction between the work and the viewer and breaking down the invisible barrier that museums usually erect between patrons and the art.

Photograph from MoMa Project Series

After looking deeper into her work, I realized my initial hunch was correct. Jacquette is a talented and deeply interesting artist and one I am proud we have in our collection. I hope to soon see more of her elegant works.

To explore more of the Weisman Art Museum’s collection, visit To make an appointment to view works in the Art Study room, contact our Registrar of Collections Rosa Corral at


Lauren Gengler is a freshman studying Art History with a hopeful minor in Business Management. She is an enthusiastic person who loves museums, art, ballet, reading, and guacamole among other things.

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